Tigers 1B Prince Fielder won last night's State Farm Home Run Derby at Kauffman Stadium, but it was Yankees 2B Robinson Cano's turn at the plate that "turned out to be the most captivating sequence of the entire night," according to Terez Paylor of the K.C. STAR. As captain of the AL Home Run Derby team, Cano last week selected Fielder, Blue Jays RF Jose Bautista and Angels RF Mark Trumbo to complete the team's roster, opting against Royals DH Billy Butler after earlier mentioning his intent to include a Royals player. With each Cano out, last night's crowd of 40,351 "did not just cheer -- they roared." And in between each pitch, the crowd "serenaded Cano with boos and 'Billy Butler' chants, just to remind him of the man he slighted." Paylor notes even Butler, who "appreciated the support, was taken aback by the extent to which Cano was chastised." During batting practice, a plane "carried a banner over the park that read 'Congrats Billy! You Blew It Cano!'" Butler: "I thought that was a little over the top. ... It's good to hear people chanting your name, but I like Robby. So there's nothing going on there." Cano last night became the "first player to go homerless at the derby since" Tigers 3B Brandon Inge in '09 (K.C. STAR, 7/10). Cano said, "I expected that (reaction). I was criticized even before I got here. When you play for the Yankees, everywhere you go you get booed.'' Cano was asked whether he “considered the relentless booing ‘low class.’” He responded by saying, “This is for the fans and that's what they feel like. There's nothing else I can do'' (ESPN.com, 7/9).
NOT A GOOD LOOK FOR YOU: ESPN's John Kruk said of Cano, "You would have to imagine this would bother some (players, but) he plays for the Yankees. Pretty much everywhere he goes they hate him outside of New York. Just goes with the territory of being a New York Yankee.” After Cano went homerless in the Derby and was cheered loudly for each out, ESPN’s Karl Ravech said, “Not what you’d expect in heartland. You didn’t expect a zero from Cano and you certainly didn’t expect the behavior to at least last that long during the round.” ESPN’s Barry Larkin: “It was kind of ugly. That’s not what this whole thing is about. It’s supposed to be positive.” But ESPN’s Terry Francona said the fans “are having fun with it” (“State Farm Home Run Derby,” ESPN, 7/9). In K.C., Sam Mellinger wrote, “There is so much nonsense surrounding the epic booing and mind-fornication Kansas City fans gave Robinson Cano.” Mellinger: “When did everyone get so serious about the Home Run Derby?" (KANSASCITY.com, 7/9). SPORTING NEWS’ Anthony Witrado wrote the crowd's "ridicule of Cano was a focal point of this Home Run Derby,” and it “looked and sounded bad.” The Derby’s current format “is flawed, from the way the teams are chosen to the three-round system and the sheer length of the event.” Changing the format would be "in the best interest of MLB, assuming it doesn’t want its stars mercilessly booed” (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 7/9). The N.Y. Post's Bart Hubbuch wrote on his Twitter feed, "The sports world is so slow right now that a Yankee getting booed is a big story. Really?"
THE NEXT WAVE OF STARS: The AP’s Dave Skretta wrote the All-Star Futures Game Sunday afternoon, considered an "afterthought in most other places, became a must-see event.” A sellout crowd of “better than 40,000 on a picturesque night was spurred on in part by three Royals prospects participating in the game” (AP, 7/9). Baseball HOFer George Brett served as one of the managers in the Futures Game and noted there is a "wave of young talent now” in MLB, but added, "Wait until you see the next wave coming in." Brett: "There are some players out there. It’s in great hands.” Brett said he was impressed by the players because they are young “playing in an All-Star Game in a Major League stadium with 40,000 people there." Brett: "This game was sold-out yesterday. You’d have the little poopies in your pants, wouldn’t you? These guys didn’t have it” ("State Farm Home Run Derby," ESPN, 7/9).